In 2008, Silvio Berlusconi returned to power in Italy, thanks to a decisive

electoral victory, with a slimmer, more manageable coalition and

a government hinging on a group of ministers who were very close to

him. The previous year had ended under the banner of anti-politics

and, more specifically, of widespread mistrust of a government seen

as too quarrelsome and paralyzed by a crossfire of vetoes. It had also

been the year of La Casta (The Caste), the successful book by Sergio

Rizzo and Gianantonio Stella, which implacably denounced wasteful

spending in Italian politics, as well as the campaigns by Beppo Grillo,

which acted upon, and in turn fueled, a climate of deep resentment

toward politics.

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